Hey everyone! First off, I would like to say you are all amazing, sensitive, imaginative, wonderful people, and you deserve to live, happy, fulfilling lives!!!!!! DP is a pain in the ass, but it is NOT permanent, and it is DEFINITELY curable. Hang in there, PLEASE.
I know the horrible, horrible hell that life with DP can be and the pain and indescribable discomfort that this state can cause. I am not a doctor, or a counselor or any sort of expert, but I have spent 2+ years living (well, more like numbly floating through life) with DP and all of its debilitating symptoms. I was convinced I was losing my mind, slipping away into an irreversible insanity. I felt so disconnected from everyone, my family, friends, activities, the trees, the earth, EVERYTHING. The worst part though was how disconnected I felt from my own self...my mind and my body, my image in the mirror, my thoughts, my gestures, the words coming out of my mouth. Also, I was paralyzed by the constant obsession I had with analyzing where my thoughts and movements came from, who this person that I am really was, what is a person, what is life itself, etc, etc..in short an obsessive and debilitating existential crisis that I'm sure many of you experience in addition to the discomforting, lifeless, and hazy state that DP already creates.
AAANyway, I am now living DP-free, and the brief moments when DP does make an appearance in my life, it is fleeting and completely manageable. Maybe my personal story will help some of you so I'll try to point out the major things that eventually led to my complete recovery from DP!
First and foremost, I would say: Accept the feeling of DP and try not to be scared by the sensations and thoughts that you experience—being scared and anxious about what you’re experiencing only makes these sensations grow stronger. If you remind yourself that DP is just an intense state of anxiety and mental exhaustion (one that will eventually pass), then you can hopefully grow less scared of the feeling of numbness and unreality that comes along with it. Instead, try to imagine DP as a sort of tool that your mind and soul use to rest while your physical body continues to go about your daily life. Your emotional and mental self must have reached their limits one way or another, maybe it was severe stress, anxiety, life events, whatever; the point is, your psyche needed to take a break so it cut itself off from the rest of yourself for a while, it took a break; it went into a sort of “hibernation mode” for a short while. This doesn’t mean that your sense of “self” or your full emotional and mental capacities will be gone in this state forever, they will be back; they just need some time off right now to regain strengths. Really, in my experience, the sort of “breakthrough” thing that helped me at least move in the right direction out of DP and into my old self was accepting the feeling of DP (and all of the uncomfortable and frightening thoughts and sensations that came along with it). Basically, I urge you to please understand that while you may be feeling like a zombie, terrified and confused, you are not in any danger and you will not have any sort of permanent damage, mental or otherwise, as a result of DP.
In addition to this, I would advise you to get out and express what you’re feeling or experiencing, whether this means talking to someone about it, writing about it, going to a therapy session—really, sharing with someone who you trust (or can learn to trust like a psychologist). I know how helpful this can be because for the first five or six months of my own experience with DP, I pretended like everything was fine and I was afraid to even tell anyone about the strange and crazy feelings and thoughts I was going through; I was sure they would think I was crazy and they would dismiss whatever I was saying. However, I learned that finally letting people know about my inner life and actually being open to receiving love and help from others was SO beneficial to my eventual recovery. I had never been to a psychologist or a psychiatrist before but I really did find this helpful. Also, just talking to a family member or a friend who loves you can help. I learned that no matter how crazy the words that were coming out of my mouth were sounding, the people around me really did come through and remind me how much they care about me. It really took some opening up though for me to realize that I was even cared for so much. Really, being vulnerable and open to others really CAN be tremendously helpful.
I would also maybe point out that as far as quick-fix remedies for DP go, I found that getting immersed in some activity that you enjoy really helps—for me especially it was listening to music. If nothing else, music helped to drown out my anxious, existential crisis thoughts for a while. Also, I’m not going to suggest you become an alcoholic, but having a glass of wine or a bottle of beer seemed to calm me down quite a bit. My psychiatrist also prescribed me citalopram, which seemed to help out with the obsessive fearful thinking and the depressive states that come along with DP.
Anywho, what I’ve learned is that most people with DP are great, sensitive people, who simply reached some sort of limit of emotional functioning and had to be disconnected from the world and from their mental processes for a while. It’s a defense mechanism and nothing more. So I want to say good luck to all of you, hang in there, YOU CAN RECOVER! 100% J